Upfront and NewFront deal season remains in full swing, and many have been asking what this year’s dynamics are teaching us about the video landscape. Below are three takeaways and what it all means for marketers:
- Streaming fatigue from the vast array of options continues, and it’s forcing legacy giants like Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, and Apple TV Plus to make strategic pivots aimed at both plugging revenue leaks and adding some new splash to their offerings. Netflix for example is talking about an ad-supported tier by year’s end and even considering partnerships with former competitors amid its revenue and subscriber woes, all while dipping their toes into live sports bidding conversations. And speaking of live sports, the streaming land grab continues, with Amazon inking a major deal for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, Apple securing rights to select MLB games along with a massive 10-year deal for all MLS games, and Hulu marketing its live TV package hard with an emphasis on sports. These aggressive moves are being made for good reason, as consumers are expressing mounting fatigue around both content and price. One shiny spot for marketers amid this pervasive clutter is the latest research from Comscore, which shows that ad-supported streaming services are winning the reach game with more consumers considering lower cost options due to both the proliferation of platforms and rising inflation. Disney Plus seems to have gotten the latter memo, as it plans to add an ad-supported tier later this year. Ultimately it seems streaming’s future remains hyper focused on ad-supported subscription tiers and expanded live content offerings, molding it further and further into the image of yesteryear’s linear video.
- The lines between the Upfronts and NewFronts continue to blur with both focusing heavily on ad tech and CTV. While it continues to be exciting for the video industry to focus on improving tech infrastructure and moving toward more impression-based measurement, this confluence begs the question of why, with the lines being so hazy at this stage, don’t we combine these dog-and-pony shows into one merged event? Well, that eventuality seems to be on the mind of the IAB’s CEO David Cohen (who oversees the organization that runs the NewFronts), so it’s an idea that may come to reality sooner than later.
- Rest assured with number three, some things never change… the race to add reach and scale is still the primary persuasive narrative to attract ad dollars, even if it’s not necessarily what marketers should care most about in today’s video landscape. If you bought into the hype of this year, you’d think that every network and content provider’s offerings were the biggest and best in terms of audience size and reach. But focusing solely on those metrics misses a huge tactical consideration in today’s video marketplace: many brands don’t need to concern themselves with the largest scale to drive success and net high-value and engaged audiences—they simply need the ability to execute campaigns with precise targeting across multiple video environments. Which brings us to the next point…
What do all these dynamics mean for marketers?
It means if you’re not already, you should be diversifying your upfront investments—and not only your allocation between linear and CTV, but also streaming and social media platforms, like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram. They should all have a seat at your consideration table, these platforms have competing scale, content quality, and integration opportunities. The diversification of platform choice and access points has created natural investment complexities, but if you understand your audience and your brand’s optimal connection opportunities then this proliferation of options can actually work in your favor, with the end result being more strategic and even more targeted brand interception points with consumers.
Our video specialists remain at the forefront of this space and would be happy to offer more insight on these platform changes and opportunities as you prioritize your investment shifts for the back half of this year and into next. Reach out with any questions!